Coronation Chicken

by Sunita

Whoa, I haven’t been here in a while. It’s been busy and the month slipped away from me.

I don’t have a proper recipe to post, but I wanted to write this down before I forgot it, so I figured I’d share it with you. I really wanted to make Coronation Chicken, one version of which is basically curried chicken salad. I had about half of a leftover roast chicken to use up, so I read a bunch of recipes and then mashed them together as follows:

Cut up cooked chicken into small chunks. You can shred it too, but I like having the chunky bits of chicken. Some of the pieces wind up shredded anyway, depending on where they came off the chicken. As you can see, this is not an exact science. You can use rotisserie chicken if you have it on hand, or poached or baked chicken. I had about 2 cups total.

The key to the spice part is to cook the spices. Traditional Coronation Chicken calls for curry powder, because it’s a British dish, not an Indian one. If you have curry powder in your spice rack, this is the time to pull it out. I don’t, so I put together individual spices and garam masala.

Heat about 1 Tbsp canola oil and 1-2 Tbsp butter in a small saucepan. Add about 1/4 cup finely chopped onion and about 1 Tbsp finely minced ginger (you can grate it on a cheese grater as well). Cook over low heat until the onion is transparent. Add 1-2 tsp ground cumin, 1-2 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 tsp turmeric and 1/4 tsp garam masala if you’re doing individual spices, or 1 generous Tbsp curry powder. Stir to mix and cook on low for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and let the mixture cool down a bit.

Toast about 3 Tbsp sliced almonds in a small skillet. Just throw them in dry and turn the heat to medium. Keep an eye on them and when they start to brown, toss them a bit. Once about half of them are browned, turn off the heat.

Mix together about a cup’s worth of mayonnaise and yogurt in a bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients. I use about 60/40 yogurt to mayonnaise because in this I want more yogurt than mayo flavor. Add in the spice and onion mixture and stir well to combine.

The traditional recipe adds sweet mango chutney, i.e., Major Grey’s chutney, but again, I don’t keep that stuff in the house (Gujaratis make a great sweet mango chutney but it’s very different; Major Grey’s is quintessentially British). I substituted something I almost always have around: marmalade. Specifically this Dundee Orange Marmalade, but anything with the requisite sweet-tangy combination should work. I added about a teaspoon, maybe a bit less.

Finally, add the chicken. If it’s too dry, add more mayo and/or yogurt. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Oh, and I also added a green onion for color and crunch.

Before serving, fold in 2/3 of the almonds and sprinkle the other 1/3 over the top.

This makes a great sandwich filling, but you can also have it on crackers or top a baked potato with it. If you want more versions, this is a good place to start.